Henry Ruttan (June 12, 1792 – July 31, 1871) was a businessman, inventor and politician figure in Upper Canada.

He was born in Adolphustown in 1792 son of William Ruttan (United Empire Loyalist). At the age of 14, he left school to work in a store in Kingston. He served in the Northumberland Militia during the War of 1812 and was wounded at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane. After the war, he remained in the militia and reached the rank of colonel. He left the militia in 1846 but was called back into service from 1860 to 1862. He set up a business (a store) in Grafton in 1815. The site of this store is usually placed on the “Heenan property” south of St. Mary’s along the old Danforth Road.

On June 18, 1816, Henry married Mary Jones, daughter of Elias Jones.

ruttanThe Hon. Henry Ruttan (1792-1871), ca. 1840, Oil on Canvas Portrait attributed to Paul Kane. Courtesy of National Archives of CanadaThen in 1820, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada for Northumberland; he served until 1824 and was re-elected in 1836 and served until 1841. He served as speaker of the house from December 1837 to January 1838. In 1827, he was named sheriff for the Newcastle District; he continued to serve after the district was replaced by the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham in 1849.

Ruttan designed more efficient heating and ventilation equipment for buildings and also invented a system for heating and cooling railway coaches that was put to use by several railway companies in North America.

He also collaborated with Sir Sandford Fleming in the design of some of Canada's early stamps.

He died in Cobourg in 1871.

Various Internet Sources



An Anecdote

The story is told of the late Sheriff Henry RUTTAN, that when a child, he met with an accident which turned the current of his life from one of comparative obscurity to notoriety.

Having gone out with his brother one spring morning to tap for sugar making, two of Henry's fingers were severed from his hand by an accidental stroke of the sharp axe. The loss led his father to send him to school, as he could not perform manual labor. With the education thus received he was apprenticed to a merchant [John KIRBY] in Kingston. Through industry and talent he was advanced to be a partner, and was entrusted to open a store near Grafton. In 1812 he distinguished himself as a soldier; afterwards as a Member of Parliament and Speaker of the House. Next as Sheriff, and previous to his death, his name was associated with the inventions for ventilating and building railway cars.

From 1878 Illustrated Historical Atlas of Durham and Northumberland Counties of Ontario.
Published by H. Belden & Co. - Toronto.